As everyone who works in ministry knows, it's hard. You never get it all done and every week there are urgent things that have to be balanced with the important things. In the midst of it all it's easy to fall into the trap of simply managing what we have going and feel like the ministry is stuck.
All of us want to lead growing children, student, and family ministries. As I use the term growth here, I mean in health and effectiveness. I don't mean numbers, but we absolutely care about connecting more people to Jesus. A growth in health usually goes along with growth in numbers. In my time serving in the local church and learning from tons of other healthy family ministries, I've observed something I think is the secret to leading a growing family ministry, or leading anything to grow.
Every great leader I get to know in ministry is a life-long learner and it has become a habit that is completely interwoven in their life. They're not all the same, however. They learn in different ways and through many different channels. But, they all have a posture of humility and believe they can learn anything from anyone. Here are a few things I have learned about how we can make a habit of learning.
Build Learning Into Your Existing Schedule
I think the reason many leaders don't have a rhythm of learning is because there is so little time. They're overworked and treading water to get through each week.
I get that.
So, to start I recommend finding a way to learn weekly by using time that already exists in your schedule. One example might be reading and discussing a chapter of a book each week with your team so the accountability helps you follow through. Build that into your existing meeting schedule even if it means cutting something else out.
Get Around Other Leaders
One of the greatest ways I have been able to learn is by getting around other leaders in family ministry. I can learn so much from a short time with another leader. You can get around other leaders at conferences, on social media, or by emailing them. Sure, some won't have time to spend with you, but don't say “no” for them. Some of the best relationships I now have with great leaders started with a tweet or an email.
Ask Lots Of Questions
Get in the habit of asking lots of questions. As you get around other leaders, ask about what they do and why they do it. After that, ask how they do it. Sometimes you might be tempted to share what you do because you're proud of it. Resist that. Use the time wisely to learn everything from them.
How do you learn?
How do you learn? Is it a habit? What tips can you share about how to make learning a habit?